Saturday, July 31, 2010

1st Annual Undy 5000 5K Race, Royal Oak, Michigan

Back in 2003, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  It was a life-affecting moment to be sure.  I was very fortunate to get through this troubling episode with the help of Dr. Steve Priest (pictured left), my family, friends, and lots of prayers.  I consider myself very much blessed by the whole experience. Of course, I would never wish to repeat that time or wish any disease upon anyone, but I grew quite a bit from those troubling days.  It helped immensely that by 2008 I was regarded as "cured".

As I was being wheeled into the OR for my first surgery, I decided right then to commit to running a marathon.  I thought it would help reset my outlook for a goal about something I had aspired to do previously, but like many other goals, remained undone.  This time would be different.  I would carry through to the finish.  In addition, I thought it would be a transforming means to help me live life more fully and thankfully.  I don't say this as if my earlier days were lived less so or as depicted in some made-for-TV movie.  Rather, I thought it could simply help create a better quality and joy of life.

When Steve let me know of this race, the very first under the umbrella of the Colon Cancer Alliance, I was thrilled to participate. The race itself was run on a course predominantly on Beaumont Hospital grounds, an appropriate setting and also the hospital where my kids were born and I was treated back in 2003.

I ran a 28:28, which is pretty fast for me.  I was especially happy considering that I have been focused on distance and endurance, not speed.

The crowd today was filled with people who are currently suffering from colon cancer or who have survived this dreaded disease.  There were also many runners and walkers who were dedicating their efforts today in loving memory of someone close who did not make it.

Awareness, education, and fund-raising can help combat colon cancer. Please make sure you talk to your doctor.  Please make sure your family and friends do so as well.  This can be a preventable and treatable disease.  It can be beaten!

This was a short and fun race but it also called to mind a flood of memories.  I wondered about those running alongside of me.  What was their story?  What was their race?

I am thankful in so many ways to celebrate today's victory lap.  I am also grateful for all my friends in the running community who have helped motivate me on a healthy and positive way forward.  I am really blessed by all of you.

Make sure you take full measure of your steps.  Each one is important.  Each one is a part of a journey.  Each one is to be dedicated and celebrated during our "race".

Thanks my friends.  Now go and enjoy your run!

All the best,